Lazzaroni, M; Range, F; Backes, J; Portele, K; Scheck, K; Marshall-Pescini, S
The Effect of Domestication and Experience on the Social Interaction of Dogs and Wolves With a Human Companion.
Front Psychol. 2020; 11:785
Autor/innen der Vetmeduni Vienna:
Konrad Lorenz Institut für Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung
- The results of current wolf-dog studies on human-directed behaviors seem to suggest that domestication has acted on dogs' general attitudes and not on specific socio-cognitive skills. A recent hypothesis suggests that domestication may have increased dogs' overall sociability (hypersociability hypothesis). The aim of the present study was to test one aspect of the hypersociability hypothesis, whereby dogs should be more interested in social human contact compared to wolves, and to investigate the relative roles of both domestication and experience on the value that dogs attribute to human social contact. We compared equally raised wolves and dogs kept at the Wolf Science Center (WSCw, WSCd) but also dogs with different human socialization experiences i.e., pet dogs and free-ranging dogs. We presented subjects with a simple test, divided in two phases: in the Pre-test phase animals were exposed to two people in succession. One person invited the animal for a social/cuddle session (contact provider) and the other fed the animal (food provider). In the Test phase, animals could choose which of the two persons to approach, when both stood in a neutral posture. We directly compared WSCd with WSCw and free-ranging dogs with pet dogs. We found that in the Pre-test, WSCd and free-ranging dogs spent more time with the contact provider than WSCw and pet dogs, respectively. The results regarding the free-ranging dog and pet dog comparison were surprising, hence we conducted a follow-up testing pet dogs in a familiar, distraction-free area. Free-ranging dogs and this group of pet dogs did not differ in the time spent cuddling. In the test phase, WSCd were more likely than WSCw to approach the two experimenters. However, neither for the WSCd-WSCw comparison nor for the free-ranging dogs-pet dogs comparison, we could find a clear preference for one person over the other. Our findings support the idea that domestication has affected dogs' behavior in terms of their overall interest in being in proximity with a human partner also in case of dogs with a relatively sparse socialization experience (free-ranging dogs). However, it remains unclear what the driving motivation to interact with the human may be.Copyright © 2020 Lazzaroni, Range, Backes, Portele, Scheck and Marshall-Pescini.